NYSPHSAA begins preparing for fall season

Contributed Story Posted 25 August 2020 at 8:03 pm

LATHAM – The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) conducted two meetings today in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s August 24th announcement to begin preparing for the 2020 fall interscholastic athletics seasons on September 21st.

The eleven section executive directors, officers and NYSPHSAA staff met this morning, while the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force met this afternoon, for the fourth time, since the COVID-19 crisis began impacting high school athletics in New York State.

The meetings were held to examine and discuss the start of the fall sports seasons and analyze guidance from state officials.  The NYSPHSAA will continue to review guidance as recommendations and considerations are developed to aide schools with the implementation of interscholastic athletic programs.

“We are encouraged and appreciative of Governor Cuomo authorizing the start of the fall sports seasons for low and moderate risk sports and affording high risk sports the opportunity to begin practicing on September 21st,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “As the governing body for interscholastic sports in NYS, our primary role will be to work with schools, coaches and parents to ensure recommended COVID-19 guidelines are practiced vigilantly for the safety and wellness of all student-athletes. Over 200,000 students participate in the fall high school sports seasons and yesterday’s announcement was certainly a positive step for all those athletes.”

“The leadership of NYSPHSAA and eleven sections realize there are challenges to overcome and questions to be addressed in an effort to provide a beneficial participation experience for student-athletes this fall,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President and Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force. “Our primary goal is to get students back into an academic setting and then work on athletic participation opportunities.”

The NYSPHSAA’s staff, section executive directors and COVID-19 Task Force plan to meet again prior to the end of the week to continue discussions.

Decisions must be formulized to address the number of required practices student-athletes will need before participating in a scrimmage or contest, the maximum number of contests and games to be permitted during the season and the development of considerations for schools to utilize as interscholastic athletics return to schools and communities throughout the state.